They have dropped four games in a row coming into today, and San Antonio is hoping that this can be the one where they can shake out of the funk they are currently in. Pop has not missed the playoffs here since the year before Tim Duncan came to town.
Memphis, on the other hand, has been playing a little better of late, but once more, this has become a lost season. Jaren Jackson slides over to the five spot with Marc Gasol gone, and Joakim Noah will look to continue to propel the team with his energy off the bench.
It has been a rollercoaster start to the year for the Spurs, with a strong start followed by a rough period, then back to winning a lot before becoming losers of four in a row. If they weren’t so talented fundamentally speaking, we could be looking at a team in a similar position as the Grizzlies. DeMar DeRozan has not been the same player he was in Toronto, but he has also not been forced into the three-ball, as Gregg Popovich has openly stated that he hates the shot. But, with guys like Patty Mills, Davis Bertans, and Marco Belinelli, they do get their share of triples in.
Injuries have taken their toll this year, with Rudy Gay constantly going in and out of the lineup, Derrick White out with a second injury on the season, and Dejounte Murray not playing at all thanks to a torn ACL. LaMarcus Aldridge has stepped up as a leader this year and kept the team comfortably over .500 for months now.
While a lot of things haven’t gone right and they score less than any other NBA team, they still rank #2 in defense, something that has not left them. They lost Dillon Brooks for the season, as his sophomore campaign saw him play just 18 games. Mike Conley missed the All-Star Game yet again but is averaging 20-3.5-6.3-1.4 steals. The great thing with this year’s Grizzlies has been the fact that Conley has missed only two games in a campaign where he is trying to return from injury. CJ Miles and Delon Wright, meanwhile, both looked sharp in their debuts.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is now the starting center, as the #3 pick from Michigan State continues to show his potential. He can hit the three and dominate at the rim on defense. He needs to show that he can be a consistent rebounder, which is something he can learn from Joakim Noah. They will lose a lot more before they win, but rebuilding around Jackson is a good look.
Spurs get back on track
The four-game skid will end with this contest. Memphis will not be able to stave off San Antonio, who are hungry for a win right now. DeRozan and Aldridge will both finish with 25-30 points, and help lead the guys out of their skid!
Free Pick: Spurs
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